Sunday, November 11, 2018

Eating Old Food


Because I'm a total weirdo, I've been dragging home vintage cookbooks. Robb is a total champion about this, and gamely cooks the recipes I flag.

This morning Robb made Gingerbread Waffles from The Household Searchlight Recipe Book, which dates from 1938.  It's interesting to see what people were cooking in the Great Depression. There are more recipes involving canned pineapple than you could possibly imagine.  Likewise pimentos.  And chopped-up marshmallows. As far as I can tell, these particular ingredients were pantry staples for decades.  The amazingly named A Thousand Ways To Please A Husband With Bettina's Best Recipes dates to 1917 and is chock-full of recipes that include marshmallows, pimentos and canned pineapples.

(If anyone ever comes across copies of any of the Thousand Ways/Bettina cookbooks, call me immediately and tell me how much they cost.  I've been hoping to buy these books, and can't find them anywhere.)

Things We Changed

We only had blackstrap molasses on hand, so we used 2/3 blackstrap molasses and 1/3 honey from our hives.

We used chopped crystallized ginger, instead of powder, because we didn't have powdered ginger.

Since modern milk is ultra-pasteurized, we did not have sour milk.  We just used our regular lowfat milk, and added a bit of orange zest to increase the acidity of the recipe.

Finally, because this batter is so lean on fats, we had to seriously butter the waffle iron.  The first batch got badly stuck, which has never happened in the many years that we've owned our trusty waffle iron.  (Thanks Barbara and Arnold!  Your gift is still going strong!)

I've had this idea about hosting vintage dinner parties, based around the recipes in a particular book.

I can't promise that I won't make Apricot Horseradish Sandwiches.


Anonymous said...

Do you have any Half Price Books stores in California?? They can look up books from all their stores across the country and ship them to any other HPB store. Otherwise you could try looking up your cookbook on ABE Books. That seems to be a very informative site for rare and old books.

K said...

Look what ebay has on sale now!

K said...

Apricot Horseradish Sandwiches? Haha! I suddenly really need to make this.

Anonymous said...

To "sour" milk for old-timey recipes, replace 1 T of milk w/ 1T either vinegar or lemon juice. You can sub blackstrap molasses for regular in equal proportions, but it will have a stronger taste. Some of my favorite recipes are the ones written in my late grandma's cursive and I love the odd (by today's standards) random booklets left behind from various small local (always) ladies' groups and clubs, preferably mimeod and run off crookedly. Enjoyed your post. Wry Me on AQ


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